Jean-Antoine Lépine (1720-1814), was an eminent watchmaker. Amongst other things, he revolutionzed the form of the watch and is credited with the invention of the simple virgule escapement. He acted as agent for Voltaire's workshops at Ferney in France, only a short distance from Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, where he had learned his craft. It appears that Voltaire wrote to a friend "At my place here better watches are made than in Geneva are produced, and the Sieur Lépine has his establishment and workmen among us. We manufacture for Paris and for Bengal. Send me your orders and you shall be supplied; you shall have very fine watches and very indifferent verses whenever you are pleased to send for them".